I spent most of today half-zonked out of my mind in a post-inventory daze. It always - always - throws me completely off. Reading sheets with tiny printed numbers on them for eight hours isn't pleasant, and doing so until nigh upon one in the morning doesn't really add to the joy. But it gets done, and it got done, and I got home in the middle of a freezing winter night, tossed myself into bed, and slept in until the late, late hour of eight in the morning.
What I did do, as a treat, was grab my PJs and spent the day reading, playing silly video games, and watching television. Normally when I read, I have a tendency to look back at the huge pile of to-be-read books and find the one at the lowest point on the pile that twigs with my mood. It relieves the guilt of the huge pile in and of itself. But every now and then a new book comes out and I have to drive right in. Short fiction by an author I love? Tends to rise to the top of the pile.
"Promises in Every Star," by Todd Gregory
Promises in Every Star is the name of both the collection of short fiction and the first story in the collection that just released this month from Todd Gregory. I've been lucky enough to take part in five of the Todd Gregory collections from Bold Strokes Books and like how diverse a collection of stories Todd Gregory tends to collect in his themed anthologies from various writers. Todd Gregory erotica is a good thing (if I can take that from Martha and apply it to hot and heavy sweaty tales of men in the same way she would maybe apply it to folding a napkin into a swan).
Right. Day off. Post-inventory haze, did I mention? Long day of hard work last night meant I couldn't help but crack this one open today. It's a reward.
"Promises in Every Star" (the first story, not the whole collection) has a soft and bittersweet tone to it. The setting is a high school reunion, to which our fellow is traveling and feeling admittedly mixed about attending. He has moved on from nowhere Kansas, and has a successful life that is public - and publicly gay. That in the back of his mind there are those for whom he carried a torch isn't a surprise, but the anxiety he feels, and the kind of sadness to see just how little people have changed (but how different they look) wasn't hard to empathize with. That this is a tale many of us can relate to is one thing - a deft thing - but the depth of narrative tucked into the erotica is something I've come to love from Todd Gregory. This is narrative erotica, if you'll allow me to describe it that way, which has always been my favourite sort.
The story, like the aforementioned stars, definitely has promise. It's a great way to start the anthology.